MReport December 2019

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16 | M R EP O RT FEATURE 2020, but said it would be "very damaging" to the housing market if one did occur. He added that some of the reason for recession- ary worries is that the economy is going on its 11th year of expan- sion, and growing concerns surrounding a trade deal with China have led some to believe a recession is possible. Tian Liu, Chief Economist, Genworth Mortgage Insurance, noted that "while the overall U.S. economy remains robust, we have seen a slowdown in recent quar- ters. I think if you look at current interest rates, they clearly reflect a higher level of uncertainty in the economy today compared to 2017." The question for Liu is whether the economy will continue to see a strong consumer sector. The U.S. economy is currently in its longest expansion on record, and consumers are reaping the rewards of stability in their jobs and income growth. Another beneficiary of the strong economy, according to Liu, is housing. "When you look at the housing market, when interest rates came down and home-price growth slowed, making homes more affordable, you saw a lot of willing buyers out there in the market," he said. "That is mean- ingful because housing is the single largest purchase for most people." Looking Ahead to 2020 C asa said the biggest theme over the next year will be if mortgage brokers continue to grow, and "finally uniting," taking their message to Washington D.C. "Mortgage brokers will begin to promote and applaud wise legislation that will positively impact loan officer compensation, tax reform and the equal and fair treatment of veterans' access to housing," Casa said. "2020 will be the year of the mortgage broker." Duncan said he believes the Fed will take no further action on interest rates, but he noted that one more rate cut in Q1 2020 is possible. Baht said the collaboration of participants in the mortgage eco- system—lenders, GSEs, and fintech providers—and their ability to work together would be interesting to follow in 2020. He said it would be vital in 2020 if these entities can come together to solve challenges facing home lending, inventory levels, affordability, housing reform, and federal versus state legislation. Keifer expects 2020 to showcase the same trends that were around in 2019—most notably the continu- ing emergence of the millennial and Gen Z generation as key players within the market. "Those demographic forces, they're going to provide a lift to the housing market. Folks are going to continue to see young adult homeownership rate rise, you're going to see household for- mations continue to rise," Keifer said. "Folks may notice that and say, 'Wow, that's really starting to move the marketplace.'" Bechtel commented that "2020 is going to be so newsworthy," but unsure if it will all be a distraction or anything of actual substance. "The challenge will be to sepa- rate the noise," he said. Liu said lower interest rates had a "huge impact" on housing over the past year, but says 2020 poses the challenge of how the housing industry can deliver affordable homes if rates change. "It's unlikely we will continue to see a huge tailwind from lower interest rates, so the housing in- dustry should focus on delivering value and addressing the chal- lenge of how to deliver affordable homes to homebuyers," Liu said. MIKE ALBANESE is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville. SOMETIMES, IT'S GOOD TO BE A FOLLOWER. Follow MReport on social media to put the latest mortgage banking news, stories, strategies, and insights at the touch of your fingertips. MReport @TheMReportNews The MReport

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